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SERM, how late foever, is, to such Men, still a III. Surprize, as great and fatal as if they were
judicially fnacth'd away by an Act of Di. vine Vengeance.
Thirdly, The Danger of Dying as they have chosen to live, that is impenitent, will appear yet more threatening, if we consider the Provocation, by that Course given to the Spirit of Grace, to depart finally from them. Without the Influence of THAT there can be no perfect spiritual Life, of which it is the Principle ; nor therefore any Spiritual Acts, to which also it must concurr. In this case, a Man's everlasting State is as much determined, as if he were already dead. So nothing can be said to aggravate the Def
perateness of it.
But let us weigh the Reasons for apprehending such a State may be the Lot of these. Trusters to: a late Repentance, The first Reason is from their Behaviour. If we recollect what has been observed of it, that it is not only Gnful, and wilfully lo; and does therefore resist and reject the Operations of Divine Grace : But that all this is heightend with a Presumption of
eluding the Purpose and Commands of SERM. God for a good Life, and yet cunningly.III. decline the Vengeance he threatens to a bad one. Upon this Recollection, I say, it is seen, nothing can be more provoking of the Majesty and Purity of God to take his Holy Spirit from them. In Special ; can we be without Fear, that they who make the long-suffering of God to wait, re fusing the offer'd Affistance of his Heavenly Grace, and upon this very impious Thought, that it shall attend their future Disposition long hence, when the evil Days come ; can we (I fay) be without Fear, that these should be denied that Grace, by themselves so long denied, and, instead of Repentance, made an Encouragement for bolder Impiety ? Surely the Punishment is very much suited to the Crime. And whoever reads the Scriptures must see, how perpetually the Divine Justice triumphs, as it were, in adapting the Sufferings of wicked Men to the Nature of their Provocation. Indeed, the very Case now under our Consideration, seems to be handled in this Manner in the ift of Proverbs. There the Divine Wifdom cries
Serm. to dilatory Sinners, How long, ye fimple III.
ye love Simplicity ? and the Scorners delight in their Scorning, and Fools bate Knowledge ? Turn you at my Reproof: Behold I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my Words unto you. But this Exhortation in the 22d and 23d Verses) proving ineffectual, hear what follows: Because I have called, and ge refused; I have stretched out my Hand, and no Máni regarded ; but ye
bave fet at nought all my Counsel, and would Hone of my Reproof: I also will laugh at your Calamity, I will mock when your cometh ; when your Fear cometh as Desolation, and your Destruction cometh as a Whirlwind; when Distress and Anguish cometh upon you. Then all they call upon me, but I will not answer ; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me ; for that they hated Knowledge, and did not choose" the Fear of the Lord. They would none of my Counsel, they despised all
my Reproof. Therefore Mall they eat of the Fruit of their own Way, and be filled with their own Devices. I must say, these Words, if they do not point out the very
Punishment we are considering of, yet by SerM. Parity of Reason from temporal to spiritual
III. Matters, give the utmost Cause to apprehend it.
Secondly, Let us consider on the Part of the Divine Majesty, in what Manner his Justice proceeds, by several known Cases ; and our Apprehension of his punishing thus Impenitence with Impenitence, will be much confirmed.
The first shall be that of the Israelites in the Wilderness ; of whom, and the Judgments upon them, St. Paul hath faid, All these Things happen'd unto them for Ensamples; and they are written for our Admonition, upon whom the Ends of the World are come. These Men,; for their repeated Transgressions and Hardness of Heart, were by an Oath excluded the Land of Canaan. Their Lives, mean while, were prolong'd, and their Pilgrimage many Years continued, but without all Possibility of entring into the holy Place of Rest. And ought not we to fear being put under a like Incapacity, and exhort one another daily, as the Apostle infers from this Example, while it is called To
SERM. day; left any of us be barder'd through the III. Deceitfulness of Sin ? Yes surely, they that
provoke it must with justice dread a Sentence of Exclusion from the Heavenly Canaan, even while they are to Appearance in the State of Travellers thither.
Another Instance to this purpose may be found in God's Dealing with Pharaob. His History in Exodus fhews, that after repeated Hardenings of his Heart, he was judicially harden'd ; not destroy'd immediately, but reserv'd incurable to the Day of Destruction; so that Mofes could say to him, when he promised Obedience, As for thee and thy Servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the Lord God : And to the fame Purpose in the Name of God, In very deed for this Cause bave I raised thee up (or as the moft ancient Tranflation renders it, bast thou been preserv'd] for to
and that my Name may be declared throughout all the Earth. He was preferu'd alive, not for his own Behoof, but repriev'd only for a Time to answer certain Ends. of Providence. And now consider, if all that will be like him, that will not bear the Voice of the Lord
fhew in thee